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Rhine Republic 1921-1924 (Germany)

Last modified: 2022-10-14 by german editorial team
Keywords: germany | rhineland | rhine republic |
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[Rhine Republic 1921-1924 (Germany)]      [Cisrhenian Republic 1797 (Germany)]
N.B.: it is unclear whether both were used, see text
by Rob Raeside and Santiago Dotor, respectively

See also:

Rhenanian Republic

(Rhine Republic, Republic Rhineland)

In 1921 the Rhenish republic was proclaimed in the Rhine zone (Koblenz, Köln etc.) with the help of France. Several flags were used but I think that the official one was green-white-red. Also is reported vertical green-white-black, but this was probably a local flag or a party flag.
Jaume Ollé, 23 March 1998

There was no revolt against the German government by the people of the Rhineland in 1921. What happened was that the French and Belgians, using non-payment of reparations as a pretext, sent troops into the Rhineland. The French actually planned to detach the Rhineland from Germany as a buffer state under their indirect control. The resulting military occupation provoked widespread passive resistance on the part of the German population. The French proclaimed a "Rhine Republic", I believe, but it had no popular support at all. In Essen, French troops fired on a civilian crowd, killing quite a number of people, and there were violent clashes elsewhere in the Rhineland as well. International opinion rather favored the German side, and finally the French were forced to withdraw.
Tom Gregg, 23 March 1998

The first republic was proclaimed 1st June 1919 by H.A. Dorten and was centered in Wiesbaden. Perhaps the green-white-red flag was used. Also reported was the use of the Westfalian colors of green-white-black horizontally (but also reported as vertically) but this information is uncertain.

In 1923, tension between France and Germany resulted in the Rhenish independentist movement proclaiming the short lived Rhineland Republic (demonstrations started on 23rd September; republic proclaimed 22nd October). President Dorten stabilized a confederate regime with three states: North (Lower Rhine), South (Upper and Middle Rhine) and Ruhr, with capitals in each at in Aix-la-Chapelle [Aachen], Coblenz and Essen; Cologne [Köln] was the headquarters of the confederate government. The Republic was abolished on 27th February 1924. Green, white, red horizontal flag.
Jaume Ollé, modified by Mario Fabretto, 24 August 1998

The first Rhenish Republic after World War I was proclaimed on 1 June 1919, by H. A. Dorten and had its headquarters in Wiesbaden. The use of the traditional flag (green, white and red) or of a green, white and black vertical one (maybe a labor union or political flag) might have been possible.

In 1923, within the tension between France and Germany, the separatists proclaimed an ephemeral Republic of the Rhineland (beginning of the manifestations 23 September; proclamation of the Republic 22 October). Dorten established a confederate regime with three States: North (Lower Rhine), South (Upper and Middle Rhine) and Ruhr, with capital cities in Aix-la-Chapelle, Coblenz and Essen, respectively; Cologne would be the seat of the confederate government. The Republic was dissolved on 27 February 1924. Its flag was the horizontal green, white and red.
Jaume Ollé, translated by Blas Delgado, 13 November 2001

Hans Adam Dorten(1880-1963) proclaimed an "independent Rhenanian Republic" (German: selbständige Rheinische Republik) on 1 June 1919 in Wiesbaden, after having occupied the local town hall. During the next days there were insurrections in several cities. But as the separatists had been badly organized, the German police ended the insurrections quickly.
Dorten established on 22 January 1922 the separatist movement "Union of Rhenanian People" (German:Rheinische Volksvereinigung). He was therefore accused of high treason by German supreme court in Leipzig, but living in an area under French control it was never executed and Dorten died in Nizza in 1963. On 21 October 1923 after a new occupation of several town halls Leo Decker and Dr. Guthardt occupied the town hall of Aachen and proclaimed the "Free and Independent Republic of Rhineland"(German: Freie uns unabhängige Republik Rheinland). Josef Friedrich Matthes became president and Koblenz the capital. On 26 October 1923 the republic was recognized by France, represented by its high commissioner Paul Tirard(1879-1945).
French and Belgian troops took control over German police. Therefore the police could not hinder the separatists. But as there was only little support from the locals, the republic ended on 20 November 1923.

[Rhenanian Republic flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 30 Oct 2009

Description of flag:
It was a green over white over red horizontal tricolour. Similar flags have been used from the days of the Cisrhenian Republic up to nowadays german state of Northrhine-Westphalia(NRW). Hormann and Plaschke chose a darker shade of green similar to that one used on current NRW-flags.
Source: Hormann and Plaschke 2006, p.111
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 30 Oct 2009

Autonomous Palatinate

(Autonome Pfalz, aka Pfälzische Republik im Verbande der Rheinischen Republik)

On 21 October 1923 a separatist movement thrusted from Aachen to Koblenz and proclaimed a "Rhenanian Republik"(German: Rheinische Republik) led by Hans Adam Dorten(1880-1963). On 24 October the local SPD made an attempt to secede the Palatinate from Bavaria remaining in Germany as an own state. As French policy tried to establish an autonomous Rheinland, there was no interest to cause a predecision in the Palatinate. On 24 October the French delegate de Metz failed to persuade the local parliament to a secession from Bavaria. On 5 November 1923 Franz-Josef Heinz(1884-1924) started an insurrection, based upon young unemployed men. Armed militia started to occupy public buildings. On 12 November Heinz proclaimed a "Palatinate Republic federated with the Rhenanian Republic" (German:Pfälzische Republik im Verbande der Rheinischen Republik) in Speyer and established a government of the "Autonomous Palatinate". Paul Tirard, president of French "Rheinlandkommision" dropped the plans of establishing a "Rhenanian Republic" on 23 December 1923 but started preparations of a recognition of the Autonomous Palatinate on 12 January 1924. To avoid this Heinz was killed just before on 9 January 1924. Under British pressure the French stopped further attempts and the government of the Autonomous Palatinate was abolished on 17 February 1924. Source: Helmut Gembries: " Pfälzischer und rheinischer Separatismus im Herbst 1923", published at here

[Autonomous Palatinate flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 30 Oct 2009

Description of flag:
It was a green over white over red horizontal tricolour with ratio 1:4:1. The flag was probably derived from the colours of Rhenanian Republic, which used a tricolour with stripes of equal width.
Source: Hormann and Plaschke 2006, p.111
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 30 Oct 2009